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Office of the Vice President for Research


Crowdfunding with Experiment.com: A great option for all disciplines

It’s an understatement to say that the internet has affected the way we do things. From paying bills to hanging out with friends and even figuring out the best detour during a traffic jam, it seems like everything happens online. Thanks to a partnership between the Office of the Vice President for Research and crowdfunding website experiment.com, USC researchers can raise funds for scholarly projects online, too.

Not long ago, the Office of Research expanded our slate of funding opportunities to include crowdfunding for both student and faculty researchers through a partnership with experiment.com. The name experiment.com might seem to imply that the site only accepts scientific projects, but that is not the case. They are happy to work with researchers from every discipline including hard sciences, social sciences, the arts and humanities, to name just a few. A quick look at USC’s institution page reveals the disciplinary diversity of USC researchers who have already found success on experiment.com.

Crowdfunding is a great way for researchers and scholars to leverage their social and professional networks to raise the funds they need to complete their dream projects. This option is an especially good fit for those seeking relatively small amounts, up to about $7,500.

And, for those who put their projects on experiment.com—after gaining approval from experiment.com and from their department via USCeRA—the Office of Research offers an extra incentive to help ensure their success. USC researchers who earn a minimum of 50 percent of their goal during their experiment.com project funding period can receive the balance of their funds from the Office of Research.

It works like this: After completing a proposal and gaining all the necessary approvals, a researcher posts a project on experiment.com for 30 days, with a goal amount of $5,000. (Posting periods can vary.) At the end of the 30 days, the researcher has garnered $3,500 in donations from individuals through experiment.com. Because the amount the researcher raised through crowdfunding is greater than 50 percent, the Office of Research chips in the remaining funds—$1,500, in this case—fulfilling the researcher's goal.

There are a few more details to consider, including developing a budget that factors in the site's eight percent fee, finding a faculty member to serve as the primary investigator for student projects and so on. If you're interested in posting a project on experiment.com, start by carefully reading the Office of Research's Crowdfunding page, which provides all of the information you need to plan for crowdfunding success.

 

2 November 2015